Indonesian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia test Covid-19 positive

(NST) – Thirteen pilgrims from Indonesia have tested positive for Covid-19 in Saudi Arabia.

The Religious Affairs Ministry’s Umrah and Special Haj director Arfi Hatim had confirmed this, according to the portal.

“Thirteen tested positive after undergoing PCR swab tests in Saudi Arabia,” he said during a dialogue on safety when performing the umrah during the pandemic, broadcasted on the BNPB YouTube channel on Wednesday.

He said those infected came from two groups — eight were listed in the first group and five were from the second group.

He said they were being treated at hospitals and isolated until a second test was done.

“They are in isolation while waiting for the next screening. Hopefully, the results will come back negative.

“Their cases are being handled by Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry and the umrah organiser.”

The Indonesian government would continue to evaluate umrah amid the pandemic to ensure that Indonesian pilgrims returned to the country in good health, Arfi said.

“We have made mitigation plans by considering all possible risks. This is what we need to evaluate. We hope all pilgrims who depart for (Saudi Arabia) remain healthy when they return home.”

Since Tuesday, umrah pilgrims had started to return home from the holy city, said the national Covid-19 task force spokesman, Wiku Adisasmito.

He said pilgrims would be tested and quarantined before returning home as well as after arriving in Indonesia.

“The screening is to ensure their health status and while they wait for their test results, the pilgrims will be quarantined at the East Jakarta Pondok Gede Haj dormitory,” he said.